(Read Part One here)
28 March, 2010. At my previous midwife’s appointment, three days earlier, I’d asked, “What happens if my waters break in the middle of the night, but I’m not having contractions? Should I call you or wait until the contractions start?”
A smile. “That’s unlikely to happen, but if it does, clean yourself up, get some towels on the bed and try to get some more sleep, and then call me in the morning.” Another wry smile. “But that’s an unusual scenario, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”
At 3am, I am usually not the most rational of people. Who am I kidding? I’m not a very rational person at the best of times, so 3am or 3pm…it wouldn’t have made a difference. However, on this particular early morning, a long-dormant rational part of my brain suddenly whirred into life.
Are you having any contractions? Pause. Nope, doesn’t look like it. Right then. Get cleaned up. Change your jammies. Wipe the floors. Get some towels into the bed. Breathe. Calmly shake drunk husband out of drunken stupor.
“I don’t want to alarm you, but my waters have just broken. But don’t worry, I’m not having any contractions, so you can keep sleeping for now.”
There was a snort, somewhere between a snore and a sigh. “Okay.” Aaaaand…he’s back out.
I find myself lying on layers of towels, trying to drift back into the land of nod, but acutely aware of every sensation in my body. Is that a…no…I think they’ll be more obvious than that…is that…? No. Relax. Go to sleep. You’ll wake up if you have contractions.
Sometime after 4am, I drift back to sleep. By 8am, I’m wide awake, and I’m checking to make sure that the events of a few hours earlier weren’t just some vivid dream. Nope, it’s all real.
I climb gingerly out of bed and find my mobile. I call my midwife and let her know what’s happening. “What’s your due date again?” she asks. “April 11th,” I reply. “Well,” she says. “It seems this baby is getting a head start then.” We arrange to meet at the hospital at 9.30am, for foetal monitoring, to make sure that the baby isn’t in any distress.
At 8.30am, I shake my brewery-smelling husband awake. “Hey, we have to meet the midwife at the hospital at 9.30am, to check the baby is okay.”
“Huh? Why?” His eyes are staying firmly shut.
“My waters broke when you got home, remember? But contractions haven’t started, so she just wants to check everything’s okay.”
“Can’t your mum or dad take you?” He rolls away.
“Um…I could call and ask him to take US if you don’t think you should drive?”
“Do I need to come? The baby won’t be here for two more weeks.” The words are slurred slightly. I’m losing him.
“Um…this baby is going to be here in the next 48 hours…”
The head turns towards me. His eyes open. He gives me the most bewildered look. “What??”
I grin. “Yep. We’re having this baby.”
He tries to sit up, and groans. “I think you’d better ask your dad to pick us up…I don’t think I should drive.”
I call my parents. They are understandably surprised but excited. Dad is here in a flash, and he drops us off at the hospital. We meet the midwife on the way in, and she laughs at the state of my husband.
“Something tells me you’re going to sober up pretty quickly today,” she chuckles.
The baby’s heart rate is steady. There are still no contractions. We’re sent home, with instructions to either return the next morning at 9am to “encourage” the baby to arrive, or to call if contractions start.
We decide to walk into the centre of town to get a taxi home; we stop at The Baby Factory for merino singlets on the way, and the cashier looks terrified when my response to her, “When’s the baby due?” is, “Oh, it’s on its way and will be here today or tomorrow.”
We find a taxi – the driver is surprised that his 9.30am passengers picked up in the Octagon are a pregnant woman and her partner, instead of a shame-faced party-goer doing the walk of shame. I sit gingerly on his seats, afraid to say that I’m in the early stages of labour for fear of being turfed out of the cab.
At home, I check my hospital bag and text my brother and sister. And then we settle in to wait. Tall calls his mum and dad, then takes a long shower and makes himself a strong coffee.
The midwife is right. He sobers up pretty darn quickly this day.